How to Cut Calories at Every Meal

Eating too many calories can do much more than make you gain weight. Large caloric surpluses have been linked to various “diseases of civilization” such as obesity, diabetes, and heart disease as well as some cancers and premature fatality.

These days, even the most innocuous seeming foods can actually pack hundreds or even thousands of calories. Luckily, there are dozens of easy ways to cut calories from every meal of the day without sacrificing taste or going hungry. Discussed below are the simplest ways to avoid going overboard at breakfast, lunch, dinner, brunch, and even cocktail hour.

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Breakfast

If you drink orange juice or apple juice, try eating your fruit instead. Most fruit juices are simply sugar laden, nutritionally hollow versions of their tree derived counterparts. A cup of orange juice, for example, has over 150 calories whereas an orange contains less than 70.

When eating yogurt, use less fruit toppings or granola. A cup of granola can have as much as 200 calories, and “mix it yourself” yogurt brands generally contain a surplus of toppings. Drink coffee? Use skim milk or 1% rather than whole; you’ll save at least 100 calories and a significant amount of saturated fat.

Brunch

Most brunches offer some sort of buffet style dining, and the number one mistake people make is eagerly overfilling their plates. Only grab a few items at a time for each plate. Chances are if you’re eating buffet style, you are not in a real hurry to leave! Are you eating at home or a la carte? Try a smoothie made with yogurt and real fruit.

It is delicious, nutritious, and relatively low in calories. Eating eggs? Try an omelet made with veggies instead of ham and calorie dense sauces. If you absolutely need something with caffeine, drink coffee or tea instead of a soda.

Lunch

Perhaps the most common lunch item in the world is the sandwich. Yet many people jam their ingredients between two thick pieces of bread and consequently can taste little besides wheat and crust. To enhance the flavor of your lunch and cut over 100 calories, make it an open-faced sandwich.

Replace calorie and fat laden mayonnaise with mustard (which has practically no calories), and get low fat cheese. You will hardly taste a difference. Are you eating a salad? Ask for the dressing on the side, and dip your ingredients in when necessary rather than having them drenched in the liquid.

Dinner

Eating red meat? Trim the fat (or ask for the fat trimmed) before eating it. You’ll save up to 20g of fat and hundreds of calories. Removing the skin from your chicken eliminates 40g of calories and 5g of fat. Throw low fat greek yogurt on your baked potato instead of sour cream. Need toppings on a pizza? Use vegetables instead of cured meats and cheeses.

Cocktail Hour

It is tough to avoid calories when drinking alcohol, but some of the most delicious cocktails are also the healthiest for you. Mojitos, for example, only have about 120 calories whereas a Rum and Coke can have up to 400. A Vodka Cranberry will only set you back about 115 calories, whereas a Daiquiri can contain 250. Eat before arriving at the bar or drinking alcohol. It will keep you from impulsively snacking on high calorie bar food.

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